Calvin and Locke; What Influence?

I will give it a try.

The idea that Locke might have been much influenced by Calvin is interesting. I tend to regard the British philosophical evolution of empiricism and utilitarianism following as forming informed by Continental intellectual developments yet substantially separate. In my opinion 18th century British philosophers preponderantly developed from a Magna Carta (1215) tree-diagram outgrowth and increasing democratic rationalization for liberalism (meaning in this case liberty from absolute power or rule by Monarchs and royalty). Though many Brits of the day were protestants and informed by movements of reformed theology of which Calvin was one of the foremost, the British philosophical trend was toward empirical observation and consideration of that which is, while Calvin’s deontological interpretation of scripture was occupationally of a different character.

Christian theologians and philosophers of the reformed church did exist in a day where the separation of Church and state in Europe was amorphous at best. Royals in Britain seemed to tolerate empirical researches in philosophy and science without considering the information threatening to them politically for good reason. Continental neo-theocracy was more complex, as were the economic systems in Europe with royals only very reluctantly relinquishing any sort of right to rule. It is a great irony that Giordano Bruno attended Calvin’s Academy in Geneva only later to be burned at the order of the Pope in Italy. Papal relations were more bound up with secular neo-theocratic power held by the royal houses. Britain’s King James in 1603 had put down Papal religious monopoly in Britain. While Calvin and continental reformers of the church had their own issues with the Catholic Church, philosophically the development was different- and philosophers need be careful and with different considerations regarding economics than those of Britain- a nation with a far-flung materialistic empire.

Germany’s great philosophical renaissance of the 18th century with Kant and Hegel (and into the 19th) with others followed German independence from the Catholic Hapsburg power to monopolize and only tolerate parsimoniously, independent philosophical researches.